Welcome to 2004, the Sequel... I mean, 2005.
Looking back, 2004 was a great year for gaming.
So, like everyone else, I'm going to enjoy some highlights time, some
time to reflect on what we got, and didn't get.
For starters, we were given tons of big-name
sequel titles. Half-Life 2 finally came. Doom III finally came. Both of
them were big, and nicely done. Doom III wasn't as much a spiritual
follower of its predecessors - that is reserved for the lesser-known
title Painkiller - but it was still fun, and ran amazingly well on
relatively modest hardware. Knights of the Old Republic II was glorious
to behold, and play through. Tony Hawk's Underground 2 managed to
improve on what was almost a perfect formula, but lost something in the
elimination of "flatland" tricks... admittedly rebalancing the
game, since Flatland was too easily exploitable for high point value
combos in multiplayer.
MechAssault 2 was a steaming pile of bear poop
with a side order of cow manure, released just in time to be considered
a 2004 game.
Nintendo gave gamers the DS late in the year,
an amazingly cool device so far. I can't wait for more games to come out
for it. I'm especially praying that they release a port of F-Zero X, to
take advantage of the wireless head-to-head play. Meanwhile, the remake
of Super Mario 64 is stunning, stupendous, incredibly well completed. I
was worried about the game's addition of new characters screwing it up,
or their being superfluous, but it really works amazingly well, and
showcases how much better 64 was than its followup, Super Mario
At 8:15 on the 9th of September 2004, Gabe,
over at Penny Arcade, became the proud
father of an unbelievably cute baby boy. Yeah, I know it's not
specifically a gaming moment - but I've been reading these guys since
they published their first strip, and it's an amazing thing.
Congratulations once again to him and to his wife.
2004 was the first full year of Athlon64
availability. The chipset designers still haven't gotten everything
right, Socket 939 is still too expensive... but it'll happen. Sometimes
good things, like a major box upgrade (which will likely involve
reinstalling my OS), are worth waiting for.
The United States held this thing called a
"Presidential Election." Two months later, our political wonks
still haven't given up complaining about the one back in 2000, and the
rest of us just wish we could take all the politicians and ship them off
to parts unknown so we can get on with our lives.
Game designers were hard at work proving to us
that... well... the industry really hasn't changed all THAT much. Hype
was everywhere, especially about systems that we won't see until the end
of this year (or even longer). Nintendo's committed to running their
"Revolution" system alongside the Gamecube, the PS2 won't be
seen until 2006, but Microsoft's promising us the Xbox in late 2005.
We'll see how it goes. If it's not backwards compatible with original
Xbox games, I'll be very hesitant to buy one.
We still don't have Duke Nukem Forever. Face
it, guys: this game was vaporware back before Daikatana released. Now,
it's looking like the only way we'll see it is if 3DRealms declares
bankruptcy and someone else gets the source code at auction. If they
even want to spend the money getting it releaseworthy, that is.
On the upside, 2005 looks good so far. We have
a good number of high profile titles on the way, a sure bet on some
Katamari Damacy-style sleeper hits. At the end of this month, for
starters, we get the next Oddworld
title. Later in the year, I finally get Conker's Bad Fur Day remade for
The mascots got salmon flavored kitty treats.
With more to follow if they behave themselves.
Happy New Year!
Got Comments? Send 'em to
Michael (at) Glideunderground.com!
Alternatively, post 'em right here for everyone to see!